When Deonaty Wilder (37-0, 36) squares off against Gerald Washington (18-0-1, 12) Saturday night, it is a fight about his future more than anything else. This is not to diminish Washington, a formal football player, in any way; in fact, I give Washington a better chance to be competitive than most boxing pundits.
Washington is a big strong fellow. You can make an argument that he has faced tougher opposition than Wilder, overall.
Washington has gone the distance with Nagy Aguilera, Amir Mansour and Eddie Chambers; he has stopped Travis Walker and Ray Austin.
Wilder’s resume is topped with victories over Bermane Stiverne; his only fight to go the distance, Artur Szpilka and Chris Arreola; the long-in-the-tooth version.
Not much separates the quality of opposition of these two pugilists.
With that said, this is a fight Deontay Wilder is supposed to win. If there is ever going to be a Mega Fight with Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder has to defeat Washington, and beat him impressively.
The interesting equation attached to this heavyweight bout is how Wilder will come out of this physically. Wilder is coming off a long layoff due to a broken hand and right biceps tear; where surgery was required. Wilder suffered this injury during the Arreola fight, where he pretty much treated The Nightmare as a human punching bag.
How will Wilder’s body hold up after this fight? In the minds of most boxing pundits and fans, a setback, where he misses significant time in 2017, is probably more likely than a loss.
Washington, if he is nothing else, appears to be a strong and durable guy. The longer this fight goes, the tougher it will be on Wilder’s body, even if he is dominating. If you take a gander at The Bronze Bomber’s record, he has not had a fight go shorter than 8 rounds since he captured the WBC title from Stiverne. A long fight with Washington may get the kinks out, shake of the rust, but it could also be taxing for Wilder’s long frame.
Personally, I think Wilder is a special talent and could be in for a great 2017. Not everyone agrees. There are just as many people who feel Wilder is vastly overrated; probably more. Wilder can only win those people over by fighting top competition.
While I do not understand most of the criticism The Bronze Bomber receives, his lack of quality opposition is one of the fair critiques. A victory over Gerald Washington must be a foray into fights with the best the heavyweight division has to offer.
Wilder says all the right things about wanting to fight the best, and he was willing to face Alexander Povetkin in hostile territory. There is nothing to suggest Saturday night is nothing more than a stepping stone for Mega Fight in 2017, assuming Wilder wins and comes out of the fight unscathed.